Ex-footballers lead tributes to ‘wonderful gentleman’ Trevor Francis

A host of former footballers led the tributes to “wonderful gentleman” Trevor Francis following his death at the age of 69.

A spokesman for the family confirmed on Monday the former Birmingham, Nottingham Forest and England striker had died following a heart attack.

Francis became Britain’s first £1million player when he joined Forest in 1979 and he went on to score the club’s winner in the European Cup final later that year.

He earned 52 England caps and later led Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham to major finals as a manager.

Peter Shilton, the former Forest and England goalkeeper, tweeted: “I’m absolutely devastated to hear about my old team-mate Trevor Francis. Such a wonderful gentleman a friend and a terrible loss.”

Former England striker turned TV presenter Gary Lineker wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear that Trevor Francis has died.

“A wonderful footballer and lovely man. Was a pleasure to work alongside him both on the pitch and on the telly. RIP Trevor.”

Chris Waddle, who was a member of Francis’ Owls side that reached the League Cup and FA Cup finals of 1993, tweeted: “So sorry to hear the sad news that Trevor Francis has passed away, he was a lovely man and such great player and thank you so much for bringing me to SWFC..RIP legend.”

Mark Bright, another member of that Wednesday side, added: “RIP, Trevor Francis. Trev signed me when he was player/manager at SWFC.

“The club experienced some great times in the early 90’s, both Trev his wife Helen were very kind in helping me to settle in at the club. I greatly appreciated it then & now. Love to sons Matthew & James.”

Chris Kamara, the former Brentford and Swindon midfielder who later became a media colleague of Francis’, also offered his condolences.

He wrote: “Oh no, just heard Trevor Francis has passed away. What a player he was & what a gentleman. Got to know him well when Trevor was doing his co-commentary’s for Sky, a job he loved.

“RIP Trevor the first million pound player who always looked a million dollars.”

Another media colleague, Hayley McQueen, daughter of former Leeds and Manchester United defender Gordon McQueen, said: “Gutted about the passing of Trevor Francis, he was never the same after the passing of his beloved wife Helen six years ago.

“One of the loveliest couples you could meet who took me under their wing whilst working on a World Cup way back, dinners, lunches & even meet-ups back in London.”

Francis broke into the Birmingham team at the age of just 16 and after winning the European Cup twice with Forest he also went on to have successful spells with Samdoria and Rangers. He also played for QPR, Manchester City and Wednesday and his fame went beyond the game.

Former heavyweight world boxing champion Frank Bruno tweeted: “Trevor Francis RIP. Sad news about the sudden death of Trevor, he played in an era when I watched Match of the day avidly, another legend gone too soon. We met a few times, especially when I did events in and around the midlands.”

Journalist and TV presenter Piers Morgan wrote: “RIP Trevor Francis, 69. Britain’s first £1m footballer who had 52 caps for England and won back-to-back European Cups with Nottingham Forest.

“Then became a superb TV pundit and was by all accounts a lovely man. Sad news. RIP.”

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